Meldonium’s presence acceptable: WADA

Sharapova, Efimova were among those to be suspended for usage of banned substance

Afp April 14, 2016

MOSCOW: The presence of less than one microgram of meldonium in doping samples in tests conducted on athletes before March 1 this year is acceptable, the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) said yesterday.

Meldonium was added to Wada’s list of banned substances on January 1, with athletes around the world being informed of the decision in the autumn of 2015.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who had recently said 40 Russian sportsmen and women failed dope tests for meldonium, including tennis player Maria Sharapova and swimmer Yulia Efimova, welcomed the decision by the world body.

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“The Russian Sports Ministry supports and welcomes the decision made by Wada because it has showed a willingness to understand the situation, rather than stick to the rulebook,” said Mutko in a statement yesterday. “They were ready to study how long it would take for meldonium to be eliminated from the body of an athlete.”

Alexei Kravtsov, the president of the Russian Skating Union (RSU), said that five-time World Champion Pavel Kulizhnikov and 2014 Olympic short track gold medallist Semen Elistratov — both found to have taken meldonium — should be allowed to compete again after the Wada decision.

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“These sportsmen should be allowed to fall under amnesty due to the amount found in their doping tests,” Kravtsov was quoted as saying by the R-Sport news agency. “They were not guilty, as we had been saying earlier. This is of course good news, but there is still a bit of a cloud hanging over all of this.” 

Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th,  2016.

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